1. If you are running for the Head Prefect Position and do not win will you also run for Senior Class Prefect? If not, why?
2. What makes you feel that you are qualified for the position? Please describe any leadership experiences you’ve had, if applicable.
I have been involved in Student Government since 8th grade: I served as a class Senator in 8th and 9th grades, and as a class Prefect in 10th and 11th grades. As a Prefect I have planned events such as Winterfest, worked on projects including opening H-Dub Smoothie Hub, and helped get WiFi in the lounge. I also co-created Coffee House, which has proven to be a very successful and fun open mic event. I have worked with the faculty and staff on all of these projects and I believe it is extremely important for a Head Prefect to be an effective liaison between the administration and students. Another role of the Head Prefect is to serve on the Honor Board which I have done for the past two years; as such, I understand how the Board works and the commitment it requires. I believe I have learned a great deal from my experiences on Prefect Council and I would love the opportunity to continue the job I have been fortunate enough to perform these past two years.
3. How do you feel about the Honor Board and what has led you to feel this way?
As is the case with any deliberative body, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having an Honor Board; that being said, it is my belief that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Most importantly, the fact that students serve on the Board allows for an important perspective to be expressed; the Board ensures that students have the benefit of the doubt. These peers who are on the board are far more likely than faculty or administrators to understand from where students who appear before the board are coming. The student perspective on the Board lends an empathetic ear rather than just having administrators “hand down” punishments without considering the circumstances of the case. In its intention, the Honor Board is meant to be a constructive and didactic body that emphasizes avoiding future infractions rather than merely doling out punishments. After serving on the Board for two years and participating in follow-up meetings, I have seen how recommendations actually affect students. I feel that overall the recommendations are extremely helpful and succeed in preventing further infractions. However, I recognize that some students, myself included, feel that the Honor Board is not completely perfect. I hope that I have the opportunity next year to address some of its minor imperfections and listen to suggestions of students regarding how it can be improved.
4. Please describe one thing in Harvard-Westlake’s community you would change. Also, how would you use the influence of the position of Head Prefect to change our community?
The one thing I would change would be the degree to which students’ needs are met and the extent to which their opinions are taken into account. Harvard-Westlake is a rigorous academic institution and it is important to find a way to balance and manage the stress of academics while maintaining the fun, social school community we all want. First of all, Harvard-Westlake students take a variety of challenging classes and are often faced with days that are particularly test-laden. At the beginning of the year, as a group, Prefect Council discussed pursuing projects to make student-teacher communications easier and I am currently working on finding a way to create a testing calendar which would allow teachers to see when their students have tests in their other subjects and work with their students to avoid conflicts. Secondly, I plan to continue fighting for issues that students have strong opinions about such as bringing water bottles back to the cafeteria and addressing Semi-Formal. Water bottles were removed without input from Prefect Council or students in general and I feel that it is important to make sure that the voice of students is heard on major issues. With regard to Semi-Formal, this is the only dance offered for 10th and 11th graders, so if we create more school-wide functions such as a casual Homecoming Dance or a drive-in movie night, then there would be more opportunities for the community to come together in a relaxed, engaging environment. Lastly, oftentimes students have amazing ideas that they come up with and hope to pursue, but don’t exactly know how to go about accomplishing them. As a Head Prefect who is both connected to the administration and the student body, I would work to make resources more readily available to students. One way might be to create a small sub-committee of Prefects assigned to specific student projects, advocating for their ideas and walking them through the process of getting these ideas approved. Ultimately, getting a pulse on how the community feels about all school issues and acting on their behalf is the most important role of a Prefect, which I would hope to fulfill if elected.